Recipe: Vicki Ravlich-Horan | Photography: Ashlee deCaires
I usually avoid the edges of a cake but this one is an exception. The caramel sauce caramelises even more around the edges, forming a delicious chewy (rum-infused) crust.
1½ cups brown sugar
2 cinnamon quills
½ cup rum
1 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1¼ cups flour
1½ tsp baking powder
Line the bottom of a 21cm square cake tin with baking paper and grease the sides. Peel the bananas and slice in half lengthwise. Place these, cut side down, snuggly on the bottom of the tin.
Make the caramel sauce by melting the butter and brown sugar with the cinnamon quills over a medium to low heat. Stir often and when the sugar has dissolved, carefully pour in the rum. Continue to cook and stir until the sauce is well combined and heated through.
Pour two-thirds of the sauce over the bananas.
Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract then eggs one at a time, beating well between each. Fold in the flour and baking powder until just combined. Carefully spread the cake batter over the bananas and caramel sauce and then bake at 175°C for 25–35 minutes.
Don’t allow the cake to completely cool before tipping out. Serve with a scoop of ice cream and the extra caramel sauce.
Tips for success
- The butter needs to be soft but not melted. If you have forgotten to get the butter out to soften, don’t be tempted to nuke it in the microwave, this will almost always mean melted butter. Cut the butter into small cubes and place in a warm place, it will soften in no time.
- Creaming the butter and sugar is a crucial step and unless you are up for a serious work out, best done with an electric mixer. Don’t confuse mixing with creaming. When you cream sugar with butter, the water in the butter starts to dissolve the sugar, trapping air as tiny bubbles in the fat. It is these bubbles that will make the cake rise when it bakes.
- Use room temperature eggs and add them one at a time—this makes it easier for them to incorporate into the butter and sugar and avoid the mixture curdling. The egg proteins strengthen those precious air bubbles you made by creaming the butter and sugar, so when heated the air can expand and turn to steam causing the cake to rise.
Good quality vanilla will turn a plain cake into a delicious cake. Vanilla is a natural flavour enhancer, note I say ‘natural’. Throw out those fake vanilla essences and invest in the real deal—vanilla extract. There are now a number of great versions readably available, especially at great food stores like Red Kitchen (in Te Awamutu and Hamilton) and The Herbal Dispensary (Raglan). Vetro (Third Ave, Tauranga)